Marilyn’s Literary Loves

Marilyn reads Whitman in her apartment, 1952 - photo by John Florea

Monroe, whose death at the age of 36 remains a mystery, was an avid reader and something of a culture vulture while she lived in New York, frequently visiting museums and attending plays. Not that she got any credit for her intellect. Michelle Morgan, who wrote Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed, said: “She played ditzy blondes and for some reason people believed that was the person she was, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. It’s intriguing that she seems to be one of the only actresses who people confuse with her parts. People believed she was a joke but she was always trying to better herself.”

Previewing Fragments:Poems Intimate Notes, Letters, the upcoming collection of Marilyn Monroe’s writings, in today’s Independent

The Literary Lorelei

“One of the most famous lines from the book and film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is: ‘Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?’

In the film, Marilyn Monroe utters those words as the character Lorelei Lee but the lines were written first in the novel by American author Anita Loos.

And Lorelei Lee is one of the most memorable female fictional characters for Australian crime novelist Shane Maloney.”

The Book Show


Art by Mandy Caruso

'Beautilation', 2008

“A portrait of Marilyn Monroe I did in 2008; it is comprised of the text from her actual autopsy report (that incidentally showed that there was no death by barbituate overdose/suicide, as the LAPD was so quick to report)”

The Grind Haus

John Gilmore Interview

“Marilyn was one of the most important individuals in my life. She is a kind of fulcrum at gut’s level. There wasn’t a major hullabaloo after her death, as there is now. I did not even want to write about her. I was talked into it by the French Connection Press, in Paris, people there I am dearly close to. However, while a book was planned, we couldn’t come to terms and another publisher grabbed the project, and that’s how my look at her came into reality. I speak each year at her Memorial in Westwood, California, where her body is entombed, and the 50th will be up in a couple years. I might end my yearly contribution after the 50th, as actually and in a real sense, it leaves me too pained to drag it on.”

Gilmore talks to Haarten Bouw

Read excerpt from Inside Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn on Film: An Untold Story

Catherine Hicks‘s performance in the 1980 made-for-television biography Marilyn: The Untold Story is generally regarded as the best biographical portrayal of Marilyn Monroe.Produced by Lawrence Schiller, the photographer who took the famous nude photos of Marilyn on the set of Something’s Got to GiveMarilyn: The Untold Story was based on Norman Mailer’s “novel biography.”

The film was enhanced by the participation of three talented directors, including Hollywood veteran Jack Arnold. The impressive roster of behind-the-scenes personnel ensured pleasant entertainment, but the three-hour drama lacks insight into Marilyn’s personality and fails to add anything new to the Monroe lore and literature.

Hicks, whose thoughtful performance is the highlight of the production, managed to capture Marilyn’s voice and mannerisms and suggest her alluring presence without resorting to caricature.

Hicks received a well-earned Emmy nomination. (In an ironic twist, Monroe “replacement” Sheree North appears in this film in the role of Marilyn’s mother.)’ – Susan Doll, author of Marilyn: Her Life and Legend

The opening scenes from this hard-to-find biopic are now on Youtube, with more to follow.